Islamabad, Feb. 15 (ANI): After its formation, Pakistan had great political expectations from the Azad Kashmir, which was strategically nestled in the western mountainous region that adjoins Pakistan to the valley of Kashmir.
However, those ambitions not only led the country to fight several brutal wars with India, but also turned the region once known as paradise into "a living hell," according to an opinion published in Pakistan's The Dawn newspaper.
"It forms an archer's bow that is about 100 miles long and about 20-40 miles wide. The Pakistani security elite hoped that an arrow fired from the bow would bring about the instant liberation of the vale of Kashmir from Indian occupation," the report says.
"The first arrow was fired almost within days of creation. It plunged the entire region of Kashmir into armed conflict. Fourteen months later, a ceasefire sponsored by the United Nations took effect on Jan 1, 1949," it adds.
The paper points out that people in Azad Kashmir don't even have access to basic amenities as they are caught in the Indo-Pak conflict.
"During the past 62 years, the people of Azad Kashmir have been unable to arise out of poverty in large measure because they are caught in the crossfire between India and Pakistan," the paper says.
"The land which their elders knew as a mountain paradise has been turned into a living hell. Of the four million people who inhabit the region, nine of 10 live in extremely impoverished conditions in rural areas," it added.
Population growth is excessive, at 2.4 per cent per year, and the average house holds no fewer than seven people.
"Sadly, Azad Kashmir's future is as murky today as it was in 1947," the article concludes. (ANI)